In brief

In brief

  • In 2021, Accenture surveyed executives from 179 oil and gas companies to understand how they are meeting the challenges of the energy transition.
  • Our research found that 18 Reinvention Leaders are setting the pace for industry transformation around the world.
  • The leaders are taking decisive actions that others can emulate in five key areas: Competitiveness, Connectivity, Carbon, Customer and Culture.
  • We estimate the potential value upside for the industry from each player achieving leaders-level ambition can be up to $500 billion by 2023.

The decade of action is upon us

As oil and gas companies look ahead to 2030, they face a set of structural shifts that are poised to permanently change the environment in which they operate. Competition from new energy sources, environmental accountability, talent scarcity and investor apathy top the list. These challenges are all on the rise, with no signs of slowing. Most companies have realized they need to undertake big changes to achieve profitability and maintain their relevance during and after the energy transition.

But change—even big change—will not be enough. Radical reinvention is needed.

How oil and gas companies are thriving in energy transition

From transformation to reinvention, energy leaders are meeting the challenges of the energy transition.

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The race to reinvention

Accenture believes reinvention in the oil and gas industry must be anchored in actions aligned to the "5Cs":

  • Competitiveness
  • Connectivity
  • Carbon
  • Customer
  • Culture

In 2021, we surveyed executives from 179 energy companies around the world to understand the actions they are taking in each area, their progress toward reinvention, and the outcomes they expect to achieve. We identified 18 companies as reinvention trailblazers. Their approach to transformation—and their expectations for success—stand in stark contrast to the "laggards," whose transformation agendas are less mature and less focused on a 5C change.

While more than 90 percent of all oil and gas companies in our study recognize the need to change, only 21 percent are moving beyond significant change to true reinvention.

High hopes for high returns

Reinvention leaders have confidence that their actions in three areas—Competitiveness, Carbon and Connectivity—will pay off big. They expect to achieve:


Times more margin growth than laggards


Times more revenue growth than laggards


Times the environmental, social and governance (ESG) improvements than laggards

Follow the leaders. But not always.

Our research revealed a number of things reinvention leaders are doing that other oil and gas companies should mimic—namely, zeroing in on a distinct set of actions within each of the 5Cs to drive future profitability and competitive advantage. They are, for example:

  • Focusing on returns on capital employed (ROCE) and ESG performance, not volumes, as drivers of future value.
  • Embracing enterprise-wide challenges while aggressively and ambitiously transforming everything.
  • Using cloud and digital platforms as critical enablers for reinvention of the business and operating model.
  • Making carbon a source of competitive advantage.
  • Taking a holistic view of both customer and employee engagement.

But our research also highlighted missed opportunities. For example, even leaders are not as focused as we believe they should be in the areas of ecosystem partnerships, cybersecurity, data management and innovation.

The bottom line is that industry players in all segments of the oil and gas value chain can learn from what the leaders are doing—and what they are not. That understanding will help them not only determine the right course of action in the areas of Competitiveness, Connectivity, Carbon, Customer and Culture, but also understand the gaps they need to avoid.

About the Authors

Muqsit Ashraf

Lead – Strategy

Aleek Datta

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Energy

Silvia Rigato

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Energy

Lasse Kari

Senior Principal – Accenture Research, Energy

Diana Alcala

Senior Manager – Strategy & Consulting, Energy

Kyle Gardner

Senior Analyst – Strategy & Consulting, Energy


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